What a wonderful world?

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One of the things I love about writing paranormal romance is the ability to create new worlds with new rules. When I created the werewolf world of my Wolfgang County novels, I wanted to create a society that released the shackles of the human world and left human societal norms and rules behind.

In my first book, Heart Of The Pack, a human called Lena moves to Wolfgang County and finds a community that is so different from her human world but in the most wonderful of ways. The wolves support each other, and allow each other to flourish, not constantly finding fault with each other. Being gay is seen as quite natural, and there are no gender roles. Male and female children are allowed to find their own way of expressing themselves as they grow. A female could be a warrior, and male could be a caregiver, every wolf has the independence to fulfill their own destiny.

In the second in the series, Soul Of The pack, I wanted to explore the idea of someone growing up in the human world, but feeling kinship with wolves, feeling at home with wolves, having everything in common with wolves, but being human.

The human in this case is Maddox ‘Ripp’ Rippington and she, a bit like all those of us who have struggled with their sexuality, felt like there is something wrong with them because they do not conform to society’s norms and gender roles, feels segregated from human society, and all alone in the world.

When she finds Wolfgang County, she sees people who think like her, feel like her, and discovers that she is perfectly normal. Exactly like the first time you meet other gay people, you go to your first gay group, pub, club, and see other people just like you. You feel validated, and realize you are just as you were meant to be.

I remember the first time I went into a gay bar and mentally letting out a sigh of relief because I had finally found a place and people who made me feel at ease with myself. This is how Ripp feels as she begins to understand the secrets of Wolfgang County.

I thought the parallel between a human having wolf heritage, or the soul of a wolf, and a feeling that we in the LGBT community have, an interesting one to make.

Sometimes people look at paranormal stories as just stories of monsters and frightening worlds, but really they are about us, the monsters are just really a reflection of the best and worst in us as humans, but the worlds they live in are a blank canvass to me. Somewhere I can explore how our society or world could be better. You wouldn’t think a werewolf society could be a warm, happy, supportive utopia, but that is what Wolfgang County is to me.

What a wonderful world it could be…

 

Jenny Frame is giving away a copy of her latest novel, Soul of the Pack, over on Facebook. Drop her a line and tell her ‘I’m one of the pack!” for a chance to win! Deadline is August 24th.

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Come Hang Out With Us!

How has your summer been? Ours at BSB has been FANTASTIC. We started off with a bang in May, and now we’re closing out the summer in style.

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First, join us at ELLCon 23rd-24th in Bristol. Loads of authors from all over are attending, and the BSB authors include: Anna Larner, Jane Fletcher, Iliandra Young, Justine Saracen, Eden Darry, Brey Willows, and Robyn Nyx.

Brey and Robyn are even doing a workshop on Point of View, and you don’t want to miss that!

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And then, we’re headed north, to Manchester Pride 25th-27th. We’ll have our BSB book stall all set up and ready in the marketplace, so come say hi, have a chat, and grab a book or two! We’ve got some wicked awesome goodie bags to give away, too. Robyn Nyx, Jane Fletcher, Brey Willows, and I. Beacham will all be on hand to talk to you about books and whatever else may come up!

 

 

Welcome to new author Eden Darry!

We’re always super excited about getting new authors into the UK branch of the family, and we’re pleased to introduce you to our newest author, Eden Darry.

Here is the blurb from Eden’s forthcoming book:

 

Sadie, Fin, and their two children were a perfectly ordinary family. Even if Fin felt taken for granted sometimes. Even if their introverted son Liam had terrible nightmares and knew things he shouldn’t.

But everything changes the night Sadie is viciously assaulted by former client Lance Sherry. Sherry knows where they live, and when the police fail to catch him, Sadie and Fin are forced to run. They think they’ve found the perfect place to start over. The house is everything Fin dreamed of, but as they settle in, Sadie discovers their home may not not be what it seems, and daughter Lucy’s imaginary friend might not be imaginary at all. Or even a friend. With Lance Sherry hunting them, the house could be the least of their problems. He’s coming to finish what he started. And he won’t stop until he finds Sadie.

Eden lives in London with her rescue cat. When she’s not working or writing she can be found among the weeds in her allotment, trying to make vegetables grow.

Eden will be at ELLCon in Bristol this August, and she’s also attending Women’s Week in Provincetown. Stop her and say hello!

All Consuming Love by Dena Blake

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While in Nottingham this past May at the BSB Book Festival, I was on the All You Need is Love author panel. There was a question posed by someone in the audience, I can’t remember the exact wording, but this is what I remember it to be; “Have you ever thought about writing a story about characters who are wrapped up in an all-consuming love? A love that would be so overwhelming that it couldn’t possibly work out?”

So many thoughts and emotions flew through my head at that moment. I opted to pass the microphone, thinking it would come back to me at the end. We ran out of time and I didn’t have the opportunity to answer, which may have been a good thing.

My first thought was of a time when I was much younger. I was hopelessly infatuated with a woman who gave me plenty of attention. I hadn’t dated much, but I thought all the signals were there. She brought out the best in me and made me feel so wonderful about myself. I couldn’t think of anything but her when she wasn’t around. She was my total focus, my obsession. Nothing could bring me out of it. Work, friends, and alcohol were no help. I had no one to talk to because I wasn’t out and I hadn’t shared my feelings with anyone.

It was wonderful and horrible at the same time. I couldn’t function without her in my mind. I purposely arranged my life around her, made sure I was at the same sporting events and parties. To be clear, there was no stalking involved. I didn’t sit outside her house and wait for her or follow her places. I was simply captivated by her.

In retrospect, I was clearly more into her than she was into me. She was older and I was incredibly naïve. The whole relationship, if you could call it that, became too overwhelming for me. It took on a life of its own and consumed me in every way. To keep my sanity and protect my heart, I had to distance myself from her.

It was a long time before I stopped thinking of the beautiful blonde with deep blue eyes. Too long. My need for her and the attention she gave me diminished over time as the contact between us lessened and then eventually stopped. She still creeps into my mind occasionally, and I wonder if I creep into hers as well. I’ve moved on and am completely happy now. That part of my life is over, and she’s neatly packed away in my memories.

I’d like to say that this is the only time this has happened in my life. But we are all emotional beings and sometimes the need to be loved gets overwhelming and when that need is reciprocated those feelings can be electrifying. The mystery is whether we can tame that voltage and still be able to function normally in life.

To answer the question posed at the beginning, the thought of creating such a story is challenging. We all want the happily ever after when we read and write romance. If I were to take on the challenge of writing this story, which I may, many years would have to pass between the characters’ all-consuming first connection and the second chance it presents. Maturity, life, and even other relationships change us in ways we often don’t recognize. I believe all these changes would be key in bringing this kind of story to life.

You can find out more about Dena Blake at her website.

Nottingham BSB UK, 2018 by Mardi Alexander and Laurie Eichler

 

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So here we are, another Bold Strokes Book UK Festival over. I was lucky enough to come over for my first ever UK BSB event back in 2015, but 2018 promised to be bigger and better than ever with a huge international cast coming over to the shores of Blighty. I was excited. I was nervous, and maybe even a tad geeked out to be in the presence of so many amazing, inspirational authors. What a ride!

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I have so many flash backs – mental screen grabs of my trip across the waters.

So what does someone travelling from Oz regard as highlights?

The camaraderie – being in a room with more LGBTQ people than I can remember– an enormous BIG thing for this country mouse from rural Australia. THE UK hosts and support crew were outstanding – I cannot thank them enough for all their hard work. From out of hours tours, to MC panels, making sure people were fed, happy, meeting with authors, taking out the garbage and ensuring that everything was in its place, on time and on schedule. Plus, you made people feel safe, comfortable, welcome and included. You ALL  rocked!

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Catching up with friends from my previous UK BSB visit waaaay back in 2015, and making heaps of new friends from my 2018 visit.

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Mixing with people from all over the world with an invested interest in LGBTQ literature –  authors, editors, readers, managers, marketing,  copy and proof readers – so inspiring, and so rewarding to meet with people face to face. When you live hundreds, and sometimes thousands of miles away from where the ‘business’ happens, it’s a sobering moment to be in the same country, and in the same room as some of these most marvellous people.

To have an opportunity to listen to what people think – to have an open forum where everyone’s thoughts and opinions mattered – from an authors point of view, to editors, copy and proof readers and most important of all, our readers – it is so rewarding to hear what you think, what you like and what you don’t like. Having our readers be brave and come on over to say hello and talk to us about their lierary likes and dislikes – it gives us authors buckets loads to think about.

Being lucky enough to not only hangout with, but also to be on panels with some of the most wonderful, clever and inspiring  people, and having so much fun that nerves were (almost) forgotten.

 

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Being in the same room as these people – SUPER COOL!

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I cannot begin to tell you how much fun and how much energy and inspiration comes from such a wonderful event as this – to meet new aspiring authors, established authors, support staff, readers and some of the top sellers in our industry, in a space that is free, stimulating, friendly, safe and encouraging, made up of people coming from all over the world, is an event to be proud of. I take my hat off to all who were involved or participated in UK BSB 2018. Each of you helped make it an absolutely magical weekend. And to all I say a heartfelt thank you.

Oh, and PS, for the record, as mentioned in one of the panels, Vic, here’s proof that  Laurie and I really do have joeys buckled up in the back seats of our cars J